Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924

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9780312187088: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924

A sweeping history of Constantinople examines the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, examining a broad spectrum of material and primary resources that reveal the influence of several wealthy families who encouraged the expansion of the empire.

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Review:

Philip Mandsel's book is a five-hundred-year history of Constantinople (now Istanbul) which attempts to convey the rich history of this one-time capital city and describe the defining characteristics which point toward its potential to return to global grandeur. The book is sizable in scope and weight: there's a wealth of details and illustrations. Mandsel addresses the development of Constantinople into an Islamic city, covering the five-century dynasty of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Turks conquered the Byzantine Empire in 1453, converting the city from the capital of Eastern Orthodox Christianity to the home of sultans, eunuchs, and janizaries. They created a city of mosques and minarets that served as the Ottoman capital until the end of World War I. Mandsel's attention falls particularly on the palaces and the political history of the capital, as well as the great architectural works which still constitute the city's skyline. This is a highly readable history of the great city on the Bosporus, marked by keen perceptions of art and palace life.

About the Author:

Philip Mansel, who has lived and taught in Paris, is the author of, among other works, Louis XVIII, The Court of France 1789-1830, and Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924. He coedited The French Emigres in Europe 1789-1814, has written for numerous newspapers and periodicals, and is editor of the Court Historian, newsletter of the Society for Court Studies.

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Philip Mansel
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (1998)
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